Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (3): 249-257.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0024

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Effects of different levels of nitrogen fertilization on soil respiration during growing season in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum)

JIN Wan-Yu, LI Ming, HE Yang-Hui, DU Zheng-Gang, SHAO Jun-Jiong, ZHANG Guo-Dong, ZHOU Ling-Yan, ZHOU Xu-Hui*()   

  1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Institute of Biodiversity Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2014-10-11 Accepted:2015-01-28 Online:2015-03-17 Published:2015-03-01
  • Contact: Xu-Hui ZHOU
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Our objective was to explore the effects of different levels of nitrogen (N) fertilization on soil respiration and its temperature sensitivity during growing season in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) in East China.


Three levels of N fertilization, N1 (15 g·m-2·a-1), N2 (30 g·m-2·a-1), and N3 (45 g·m-2·a-1), and the control group (CK) were set up in winter wheat fields. The LI-8100 Automated Soil CO2 Flux System was used to measure soil respiration rate during the growing season (December 2013 to May 2014) of winter wheat.

<i>Important findings</i>

During the growing season of winter wheat, mean soil respiration rates of N1, N2 and N3 treatments were 5.29, 6.17 and 6.75 μmol·m-2·s-1, respectively, which were 7.8%, 23.6% and 37.8% greater than that of the CK (4.90 μmol·m-2·s-1). Compared to CK, the N1, N2, and N3 treatments increased the aboveground biomass by 39.9%, 104.4%, and 200.2%, respectively, and the increases were significantly correlated with total soil respiration during the growing season. Soil respiration increased exponentially with soil temperature at the depth of 5 cm, which explained 65%-75% of the variation (p < 0.05). The temperature sensitivity of soil respiration (Q10) calculated based an exponential equation was between 2.09 and 2.32. These results suggested that nitrogen fertilization promoted plant growth, significantly increased biomass of winter wheat, and stimulated the soil respiration.

Key words: N fertilization levels, Triticum aestivum, soil respiration

Fig. 1

Climate conditions (temperature and moisture) of Qianjin Farm, Chongming Island during the growing season (from December 2013 to May 2014) of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum). A, Record of mean daily air temperature and precipitation. B, Changes in daily mean temperature and soil moisture at 5 cm soil depth."

Fig. 2

Seasonal changes in the rate of soil respiration in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) during growing season under different levels of nitrogen fertilization (mean ± SE). CK, control group; N1, N fertilization at 15 g·m-2·a-1; N2, N fertilization at 30 g·m-2·a-1; N3, N fertilization at 45 g·m-2·a-1."

Table 1

Cumulative soil respiration at different growth stages under different levels of nitrogen fertilization (mol·m-2) (mean ± SE)"

Planting and seeding stage
Dressing at jointing stage
Booting to heading stage
Flowering and mature stage
Whole growing season
CK (Control) 1.66 ± 0.09c 3.47 ± 0.27b 5.51 ± 0.46c 9.26 ± 0.83c 18.53 ± 1.27c
N1 (15 g·m-2·a-1) 1.78 ± 0.14bc 3.57 ± 0.21b 5.95 ± 0.45bc 10.69 ± 0.83c 20.26 ± 1.51bc
N2 (30 g·m-2·a-1) 2.07 ± 0.19a 3.99 ± 0.36ab 6.92 ± 0.53ab 12.96 ± 1.17ab 23.79 ± 2.13ab
N3 (45 g·m-2·a-1) 2.36 ± 0.18a 4.53 ± 0.41a 7.77 ± 0.73a 13.28 ± 1.21a 25.87 ± 2.08a

Fig. 3

Relationship between soil respiration rate (Rs) and soil temperature (T) fitted with an exponential model. A, Control group, CK. B, N1, N fertilization at 15 g·m-2·a-1. C, N2, N fertilization at 30 g·m-2·a-1. D, N3, N fertilization at 45 g·m-2·a-1. Each value represents one measurement."

Fig. 4

Total aboveground biomass of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) under different levels of nitrogen fertilization (mean ± SE). CK, control group; N1, N fertilization at 15 g·m-2·a-1; N2, N fertilization at 30 g·m-2·a-1; N3, N fertilization at 45 g·m-2·a-1. Different lowercase letters denote significant differ- ences among different treatments."

Fig. 5

Relationship between soil respiration and total aboveground biomass in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) during growth season (mean ± SE)."

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